Footnoting History


Welcome to Footnoting History! For links to further reading suggestions, a calendar of upcoming episodes, and the complete episode archive, visit us at!


  • Revolutionary Movies, Part II: Dr. Zhivago and The Last Emperor

    Revolutionary Movies, Part II: Dr. Zhivago and The Last Emperor

    25/07/2020 Duração: 01h18min

    (Christine and Elizabeth) In our last episode we discussed revolutions in the United States and France, and this time we turn our eyes toward China and Russia. Here, our Summer Special crossover concludes with Christine and Elizabeth chatting with Pod Academy’s Gil and Rutger about 1965’s Dr. Zhivago and 1987’s The Last Emperor.   Want Footnoting History merch? Check Able to support us through Patreon? You can find us here:

  • Revolutionary Movies, Part I: The Patriot and Les Miserables

    Revolutionary Movies, Part I: The Patriot and Les Miserables

    11/07/2020 Duração: 01h14min

    (Christine and Elizabeth) How do modern films portray revolutions? What are some of the things regularly included - and just as regularly left out? In the first of this special pair of episodes Elizabeth and Christine step away from their scripts and join Gil and Rutger of Pod Academy for a Summer Special conversation about 2000’s The Patriot and 2012’s Les Miserables. Christine and Elizabeth are joined by Gil and Rutger of Pod Academy Want Footnoting History merch? Check Able to support us through Patreon? You can find us here:

  • Slavery and the Colony of Georgia

    Slavery and the Colony of Georgia

    30/05/2020 Duração: 17min

    (Elizabeth) Most likely, many of us have heard tales around how the colony of Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe, a philanthropist, to be a haven for Britain's debtors but, as always, that isn't the whole story. In this episode, Elizabeth delves into how slavery of Africans was illegal early on in the colony and why that changed - including who drove the demand. 

  • The Parnell Affair

    The Parnell Affair

    16/05/2020 Duração: 23min

    (Christine) In the late 1800s, Charles Stewart Parnell was a heavyweight in Irish politics - until his affair with a woman named Katharine O'Shea came to light. Join Christine for a look at the scandal that dominated headlines and rocked the career of the so-called "Uncrowned King of Ireland".   To learn more about our episodes or see our further reading, please check our website Footnoting History Additionally, we'd love to hear from you on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook! You can find our Patreon here. 

  • Passing Exams in Imperial China

    Passing Exams in Imperial China

    02/05/2020 Duração: 23min

    (Lucy) The civil service examinations taken by the bureaucrats and administrators of imperial China were not merely academic. They also served as social rites of passage. Moreover, they were designed to test the moral aptitudes of test-takers for a lifetime of upholding Confucian ideals. Naturally, they were a source of individual stress, as well as a key part of imperial power and authority for centuries, outlasting several dynasties. This episode looks at the roles civil service examinations played in premodern China, and the mythos that grew around them.

  • The Other Anne Boleyn

    The Other Anne Boleyn

    18/04/2020 Duração: 23min

    (Kristin) In 1536, there were two Anne Boleyns in the Tower of London. One was a queen who helped inspire the English Reformation and stood accused of treason; the other was the aunt whose testimony may have helped to convict her. Lady Anne Shelton, née Boleyn, was the sister of the queen’s father, Thomas Boleyn and the mother of one of Henry VIII’s alleged mistresses. She was to play a critical role during the reign and fall of Henry’s second queen – who was her namesake and who became her nemesis. 

  • Prester John

    Prester John

    03/04/2020 Duração: 23min

    Prester John, a legendary Christian king, endured in the imaginations of many medieval crusade theorists and geographers. Thought to be a savior who would assist the forces of Christendom to defeat Islam in a final crusade to take Jerusalem, Prester John occupied an important place in the minds of those who hoped for a successful crusade. In this episode, join newcomer Josh as he takes you on a whirlwind tour of Asia and Africa in search of this mythical figure.Podcaster: Josh

  • Footnoting Disney: Mulan

    Footnoting Disney: Mulan

    21/03/2020 Duração: 18min

    (Lucy) Mulan is a story without a single historical precedent. From a medieval ballad to early modern narratives to plays and operas, it’s been told over and over again. Mulan’s exploits are always presented as having happened “once upon a time,” anytime from the Han dynasty to the early Tang period. These stories about a fierce heroine and her loyalties tell us a lot about changing ideas of gender and cultural identity in China.

  • Footnoting Disney: The Little Mermaid

    Footnoting Disney: The Little Mermaid

    07/03/2020 Duração: 17min

    (Lesley) The first of Disney’s Renaissance films was a project in progress since 1930. Based on the writings of Hans Christian Andersen, the film updated the original tragic story for a modern family audience. In this episode, Lesley places the original story within the religious, cultural, and imperial context of its creation...while revealing a personal pain the author wrote into the mermaid’s story.  

  • Footnoting Disney: Pocahontas

    Footnoting Disney: Pocahontas

    21/02/2020 Duração: 21min

    (Christine) In 1995, Disney released Pocahontas, its first animated film based on a real person. Set in 1607, the film depicts the encounter between Pocahontas, an American Indian woman, and John Smith, an English settler, in what is now the state of Virginia. In this episode Christine uses the popular movie that gave us songs like "Colors of the Wind" as the starting point for separating fact from fiction and investigating the real life of Pocahontas.

  • Footnoting Disney: Aladdin

    Footnoting Disney: Aladdin

    08/02/2020 Duração: 20min

    (Elizabeth) The story of Aladdin is one of the most popular and most produced of the tales from the One Thousand and One Nights (also known in English as the Arabian Nights) and, yet, it isn't actually one of the original stories. In this episode, Elizabeth explains how the story of Aladdin entered the collection, including the young Syrian man who inspired a French author to write it. Further ReadingHannā Diyāb, The Man Who Wrote Aladdin: The Life and Times of Hannā Diyāb, translated by Paul Lunde, introduction by Caroline E.M. Stone. Hardinge Simpole (2020).Hanna Dyab, D’Alep à Paris. Les Pérégrinations d’un Jeune Syrien au Temps de Louis XIV, edited and translated by Paul Fahmé, Bernard Heyberger and Jerôme Lentin, Sinbad-Acte Sud (2015).  Husain Haddawy and Muhsin Mahdi, eds., Arabian Nights., WW Norton & Company (1995).  Paulo Lemos Horta, Marvellous Thieves, Harvard University Press (2017). --,  Aladdin: a New Translation, translated by Yasmine Seale, edited by Paulo Lemos Horta (2018). Robert Irwin

  • Footnoting Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    Footnoting Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    25/01/2020 Duração: 23min

    (Kristin) When Victor Hugo wrote his novel, Notre-Dame of Paris in 1831, the cathedral of Notre Dame was over 600 years old and crumbling. The ensuing tale was one that inspired a massive renovation project and continues to stir imaginations today. In this week’s episode, Kristin talks about the story of Hugo’s Notre-Dame of Paris and its continuing resonance with modern audiences.  

  • The Forbidden Holiday

    The Forbidden Holiday

    14/12/2019 Duração: 17min

    (Nathan) The English Civil War of the mid-17th century ended in the beheading of King Charles I and the establishment of the Commonwealth under of Oliver Cromwell. It also marked a turning point in the celebration of Christmas in Britain and its American colonies. In this episode, we will examine the rise of Puritan groups to power in the English Parliament, their attitudes toward the moral and ritual reform of the English Church, and how these groups in Britain and the colonies sought to purge Catholic and "pagan" influences in their society by banning the celebration of Christmas. Winship, Michael P., Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America (Yale University Press, 2019). Coffey, John, and Paul Lim., The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Daniels, Bruce, Puritans at Play: Leisure and Recreation in Colonial New England (Macmillan, 1995). Walsh, James P. "Holy Time and Sacred Space in Puritan New England." American Quarterly 32, no. 1 (1980): 79-95.

  • Haitian Revolution, Part II: ​1794-1804

    Haitian Revolution, Part II: ​1794-1804

    30/11/2019 Duração: 23min

    (Elizabeth) Between 1794 and 1804, the newly emancipated people of the colony of Saint-Domingue created a government under the leadership of Toussaint Louverture and defeated Napoleonic forces to become their own independent country. In this episode, Elizabeth explains the role of Louverture but also the international ramifications of the creation of Haiti. 

  • Haitian Revolution, Part 1: 1791-1793

    Haitian Revolution, Part 1: 1791-1793

    16/11/2019 Duração: 22min

    (Elizabeth) In 1791, the enslaved people of France's wealthiest colony, Saint-Domingue, rose up for freedom. In this episode, Elizabeth examines the many factors that led to the abolition of slavery in the region now known as Haiti. The French Revolution, Kongolese leadership, social stratification, religion, and many other aspects all pay a role in what will become the first successful slave revolt of the Atlantic world. 

  • The Unquiet Afterlife of Elizabeth Siddal

    The Unquiet Afterlife of Elizabeth Siddal

    02/11/2019 Duração: 18min

    (Christine) Following a tumultuous life entrenched in Britain's art world, Elizabeth Siddal was laid to rest in 1862, but her body's peace would be disturbed only a few years later when her coffin was reopened. Find out the story behind the disturbance of the late artist and model's earthly remains in this episode.   Further Reading Laura Bradley, "Elizabeth Siddal: Drawn into the Pre-Raphaelite Circle", Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 18:2. (1992), pp. 136-145, 187. J.B. Bullen, “Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (1828-1882)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, (2004/2015). Marion R. Edwards, "Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal -- The Age Problem", The Burlington Magazine, 119:887, (February 1977), pp. 110, 112. Paul Fyfe, "Accidental Death: Lizzie Siddal and the Poetics of the Coroner's Inquest", Victorian Review, 40:2, (Fall 2014), pp. 17-22. Jan Marsh, "Did Rossetti Really Need to Exhume his Wife?" The Times Literary Supplement, (15 February 2012). --"Imagining Elizabeth Siddal", New S

  • History for Halloween VI

    History for Halloween VI

    19/10/2019 Duração: 27min

    (Christine, Elizabeth, Kristin, Lesley, and Lucy) Ghosts, vampires, and more lurk in this year's installment of History for Halloween. Join us for our traditional episode featuring bits of history perfect for the creepiest time of the year.

  • The Chinese Exclusion Act

    The Chinese Exclusion Act

    05/10/2019 Duração: 26min

    (Nathan) In the 19th century, the Qing government of China faced major setbacks in the wake of military conflicts with European powers, spurring economic downturn and an immigration exodus out of the country. Increasing numbers of Chinese began to arrive on the West Coast of the United States, drawn by the California Gold Rush and seeking new economic opportunities to support their extended families back in China.  Soon, however, American economic conditions began to take on racist overtones, as public opinion began to turn against the Chinese.  In this episode, we look at the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, its increasing legal restrictions, and the long-term consequences of the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.   Further Reading Kil Young Zo, Chinese Emigration into the United States, 1850-1880 (Arno, 1978). Sucheng Chan, ed.  Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943 (Temple University Press, 1991). Judy Yung, Unbound Feet: A Social H

  • The Life and Travels of Newport Gardner

    The Life and Travels of Newport Gardner

    21/09/2019 Duração: 20min

    (Kristin) In the 1760s, Occramer Marycoo was taken to the American colonies against his will. When he re-crossed the Atlantic in 1826, he was a free man who also went by the name Newport Gardner. In between, he was a composer, a teacher, a small-business owner, and a prominent member of Newport, Rhode Island Free African community. In this episode, Kristin follows the remarkable journey of the man, who bought his freedom and returned to Africa, known as both Occramer Marycoo and Newport Gardner.     Further Reading Edward E. Andrews, “The Crossings of Occramar Marycoo, or Newport Gardner,” in Atlantic Biographies: Individuals and Peoples in the Atlantic World, eds. Jeffrey A. Fortin and Mark Meuwese, Boston, (2014), 101-124. John Russell Bartlett, History of Lotteries and the Lottery System in Rhode Island, University of Rhode Island, (2003). Akeia A. F. Benard, “The Free African American Cultural Landscape: Newport, RI, 1774-1826”, PhD diss., University of Connecticut, (2008). Elaine Forman Crane, A Dependen

  • Evil Humors and the Common Cold

    Evil Humors and the Common Cold

    07/09/2019 Duração: 11min

    (Lucy) Ache in the head, running of the nose, and the throat being pierced by pain like a spear: medieval descriptions of common ailments are often familiar, as well as startlingly vivid. This podcast episode looks at everyday remedies in medieval Europe. From chicken and barley to spiced wine, many such remedies were delicious and nutritious. Administering medicine — from comfort food to careful concoctions — was based on both education and experience.   Further Reading Winston Black, "I will add what the Arab once taught: Constantine the African in European Medical Verse," in A. Van Arsdall and T. Graham, (eds.) Herbs and Healers from the Ancient Mediterranean through the Medieval West: Essays in Honor of John M. Riddle, Ashgate, (2012), 153-186. Luis García Ballester, "Introduction," in Practical Medicine from Salerno to the Black Death, Cambridge University Press, (1994), 1-29. John Riddle, "Research Procedures in Evaluating Medieval Medicine," in B.S. Bowers (ed.) The Medieval Hospital and Medical Practi

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